How One Bar Method Member Used Her Strength Built at The Bar to Complete Two Extreme Challenge Courses in Her 70s
May 4, 2021
In today’s blog, Carolyn Eynon — Founding Artistic Director of The Carolyn Eynon Singers — shares how barre keeps her in shape and helped her complete an extreme challenge course at the age of 73. Read Carolyn’s full story below to learn more about her exercise routine and wellness tips.
Q&A with Carolyn!
How did you get started with The Bar Method?
I got started after COVID-19 closed my yoga studio in Scottsdale, AZ. My Los Angeles-based daughter invited me to try a barre class via Zoom. I love watching ballet and enjoy exercising with music, so I find barre very enjoyable.
What drew you to the program?
The teachers, the encouragement they offer, the repetition and focus required to correctly participate — those all attracted me since I’m a classically trained conductor, teacher, and singer.
Have you always been active? What’s your fitness/wellness philosophy?
I’ve always been active as an adult; walking, sailing, swimming, hiking, kayaking, and snow skiing, then yoga. My fitness routine is a way of life… for it’s MY time, and I learned that I need it mentally as well as physically.
How do you think yoga and barre differ from and/or complement one another?
Yoga is a discipline, involving correct form, placement, breath, posture, inner core and stretching, which I also see in barre. The tempos are different, the moves are different, but they each have their benefits mentally, physically, and spiritually.
You recently completed an extreme challenge course on your birthday that included climbing a 50-foot telephone pole followed by a ziplining course! What was that experience like? Have you done these in the past? Do you feel like The Bar Method improved your performance?
Yes, for my 73rd birthday, I took one of my adult daughters to a beautiful spa in Tucson. This was my second time there. Most people attend for spa treatments, pool days, hiking and dining. However, something ignited me to try two very challenging climbing courses; each requiring inner strength, balance, courage, and mental positivity.
I truly never expected the difficulty. Eight women were together in our group. At 7:30 a.m., I was climbing a 50-foot telephone pole with a harness and belay rope tied to me. I’m 5’3” and the space between each “step” was almost beyond my reach. Climbing straight up and then transferring to a 30-foot horizontal balance beam/telephone pole was the job at hand.
My daughter went first, successfully, and I was so grateful she achieved it. My courage kicked in with my adrenaline as I learned to take one step at a time and NOT look back or down. As in life, this challenge course taught me I could do whatever I put my mind to, and barre had built up my muscular strength for the last nine months at home.
When I did the zipline—that was also the same morning—and I was still feeling exhilarated after the first balance beam. My muscles did shake, but with each step and push, I breathed deeply as you must in barre. It was definitely a personal challenge, and the ziplining was another 50-foot climb to a thousand-foot zipline over the desert. Barre is what gave me the inner strength to reach my goal.
What is your daily routine like? How often do you workout, and what other wellness tips do you suggest?
My daily routine is morning barre four days a week, hiking in the early morning with one dog, and then if temperatures allow, I walk 10,000 steps. I love swimming in our pool, and if I could, I would sail every day. But it’s hard in the desert.
I used to do yoga five days a week and hope to start up on the days I don’t do barre. I love the teachers who help me be aware of form, for in life, it is so important to hold our posture erect and eat healthy. I love watching my daughter do barre and she inspires me, too.
How has The Bar Method impacted your overall health?
The Bar Method has made me stronger. Since I know that my genetics involve bone cancer, I’m conscious to include weight-bearing exercise. So weights, push-ups, planks, and reps all help me feel healthier, though I still find barre challenging every day. But I’m very disciplined through 50 years of teaching and directing choirs and orchestras, and it’s all about practice.
The fact that you’re so physically fit in your seventies is so inspiring! What advice do you have for looking and feeling your best at any age?
My age is just a number. It does not define me. Yes, some mornings before I get out of bed, I stretch my spine and hips, which are often tight. So if I am going to live to do my best for me and my family, I need to take care of myself. All three of my daughters demonstrate great awareness of nutrition, self-control and exercise. They are my role models and I want to keep up with them!
What would you suggest to someone who’s interested in trying the program?
I suggest to anyone that they give barre a try for at least a month. Enjoy the process; it takes time to be aware of core, posture, form, positions in classical ballet and just overall good health. Some days, I’m tired at 9:30 a.m., but I make myself turn on Zoom and go to class. Erica has taken me to the studio prior to COVID and I enjoyed it there, too. Online barre have been my life for nine months.